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Toyota Robot Maid Learns From Mistakes

This robot maid designed by Toyota and engineers from the University of Tokyo is a general-purpose household robot. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this robot is that it can analyze mistakes (like running into a table) and then learn to avoid the same errors in the future.

This robot is able to pick up clothes from a chair (or even from the floor), and then carry them over to the washer, open the door and put them in. It is able to run for about an hour on its battery charge, using wide-angle stereo cameras, stereo telescopic cameras, omnidirectional cameras and ultrasonic sensors to determine its position relative to other objects.

The robot is able to create a three-dimensional model of its environment and then operate within that environment. It is able to detect when it fails, and then rework the operation to work around failure. Once a correct method is determined, the robot can then repeat the corrected sequence of steps.


(Toyota robot maid does the laundry)

Toyota's robot maid is also able to clean floors, once everything has been picked up.


(Toyota robot maid cleans the floor)

Heinlein fans have been thinking about a general-purpose household robot that can learn and adjust since he described Flexible Frank in his 1956 novel The Door Into Summer. This robot had Thorsen memory tubes to allow it to learn by doing.

...the point is that you can hook a Thorsen tube into a control circuit, direct the machine through an operation by manual control, and the tube will "remember" what was done and can direct the operation without a human supervisor a second time, or any number of times.
(Read more about Thorsen memory tubes)

From Toyota Robot Maid Designed to Learn from Past Failures; see lots of great pictures and videos of Toyota's robot maid (translated from Robot Watch); thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/29/2008)

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